Codependency can affect your relationships, your work, and your well-being. As much as you want to make a change, sometimes it can feel difficult to do. Implementing strategies to overcome codependency may be challenging, but it is important.

Choosing to overcome codependency is worth the effort. As much as it feels easier to stay in the familiar, overcoming codependency leads to healthier relationships and better overall well-being. Even more importantly, overcoming codependency can give you a stronger sense of who you are. This stronger sense of self is more authentically you.

The strategies.

These strategies are not something to do all at once. You can, however, take small steps toward overcoming codependency by implementing these ideas over time. Here are some strategies that can help you on this path:

Increase your self-awareness.

Self-awareness can seem like a vague idea that is hard to define. The truth is that self-awareness is being aware of yourself. Not just where you are and what you do, but who you are.

“Self-awareness is your ability to perceive and understand the things that make you who you are as an individual, including your personality, actions, values, beliefs, emotions, and thoughts.”Kendra Cherry, MSEd

To overcome codependency, you need to recognize that you have codependent tendencies. This may feel uncomfortable at first, but it is worth it. Your self-awareness starts with understanding that it’s a pattern of behavior that can be changed.

Educate yourself about codependency.

As you recognize your proclivity for codependency, begin to learn about it. Find resources that help you understand what it is, what causes it, and how it manifests. Educating yourself about codependency can provide insight and a framework to help you make positive changes.

Seek professional help from a counselor or therapist.

A counselor or therapist is a great resource to help you overcome your codependent nature. Consider going to therapy or counseling where you can find guidance, support, and tools tailored to your unique situation. A mental health professional has education, training, and experience that can help you find freedom from codependency faster than if you try to do it on your own.

Begin to set boundaries.

Setting clear boundaries in your life is an outward way to shift from codependent relationships and habits. As you learn to say “no” when necessary you set clear boundaries. Setting boundaries is not a selfish act. It is part of what makes healthier relationships that respect and honor everyone involved.

Practice self-care in your life.

You may hear a lot about self-care, and for good reason. Self-care is how you honor and respect your needs. When you take care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being you recognize that you, with your specific needs and feelings, matter. Self-care includes exercise or movement, healthy nutrition, adequate sleep, and participating in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Develop your sense of self.

As you go through this process and improve your self-awareness, you can build on that. While people often seek external validation when they are in codependent relationships or have codependent tendencies, you can learn to have internal validation. Build your self-esteem and self-worth by exploring your interests, hobbies, and passions. If this area is difficult for you, a Christian counselor is a great resource. They can remind you of your identity in Christ.

Incorporate mindfulness and meditation.

Codependent tendencies often lead people to get ahead of themselves. Instead of being present, they always worry about the other person and how to make them happy. You can decrease this by practicing mindfulness to stay present in the moment. It will help you cultivate a deeper awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Challenge negative thought patterns.

Negative thoughts happen to everyone. They are particularly noticeable if you have codependent tendencies because you are so focused on someone else’s happiness, which is outside of your control. You can also battle things like shame and fear. It is helpful to identify negative thought patterns and challenge them. Challenging self-criticism or the belief that you’re only valuable when helping others will help you find freedom.

Steer clear of enabling behavior.

In codependent relationships, it is common to enable behavior, even if you know it is wrong. To shift that, begin to recognize when you’re enabling someone’s unhealthy behavior or addiction. Remember, it is not your job to rescue them. Instead, you can encourage them to take responsibility for their actions.

Find and cultivate healthy relationships.

Spending time in healthy relationships will help you with unhealthy ones. As you surround yourself with people who respect your boundaries and support your growth, you learn what that feels like. You are then more likely to seek that in all of your relationships. Time in relationships that are mutually nurturing and balanced can help all of your relationships improve.

Practice assertiveness.

Being assertive can be intimidating for people who struggle with codependency. You can, however, learn how to express your needs, wants, and feelings. As you practice doing this clearly and respectfully you will decrease the effects of codependency. Doing this also helps prevent resentment and promotes open, healthy communication.

Accept imperfection in others and yourself.

No one is perfect. And your journey to overcome codependency will not be perfect either. Additionally, it is important to note that you are not responsible for fixing anyone else’s problems or controlling their lives. As you understand and accept that everyone has their own journey and struggles, you can make strides in overcoming codependency.

Celebrate independence.

When you build your life on another person’s feelings, needs, and thoughts it can be difficult to make independent choices. You can learn to handle challenges and make your own decisions. As you do this, acknowledge your achievements, even if they seem minor or insignificant.

Stay committed to the process.

As you walk this journey, you will discover that progress is made in small steps. Don’t let slow change prevent you from continuing. Overcoming codependency is a process that takes time and effort. It helps to be patient with yourself as you implement these strategies. The more you do them, the more comfortable you become with them. This enables you to stay committed to your personal growth.

You don’t have to overcome codependency alone.

As much as you may want to tackle this on your own, sometimes it is better to have someone who can walk alongside you. A counselor is an unbiased third party whom you can be completely open with. You don’t have to worry about what anyone will think or if you are letting someone down. Counseling can be the thing you need to make overcoming it possible.

Seeking help from a Christian counselor has the added benefit of providing sound spiritual advice in the process. Instead of relying on your own ideas or those of a counselor, you can be confident in the faith-based help of a Christian counselor.

Christian counselors use their education, training, and experience as a counselor in conjunction with the spiritual truths of the Word of God to help you. This offers the most comprehensive help possible as you work through codependency. A Christian counselor can point you to scriptures that will help, pray with you, and encourage you in spiritual disciplines to overcome your specific areas of struggle.

Read through these strategies and consider where to start. You don’t have to do everything at one time. Instead, choose one or two things to focus on and commit to them. The more committed you are, the more likely you are to see progress.

If you need someone to help you along your journey, consider meeting with a Christian counselor. The directory on this site has a list of Christian counselors trained and ready to help you find freedom from codependency. Take the first step and call to set up an appointment.

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